IA: “Stonemason” — James O’Hern

My stonemason John says
he uses Elberton granite from Georgia
It has the best grain and lasts the longest
How long is long I ask
Oh he says a thousand years

I want more than hard gray stone
to guard her silence
I want stone that stays alive
a megalith jammed deep into earth
an antenna to amplify the signals
emitted from her ash and bone

I went to Ireland
looking for the perfect stone
found stone cottages and monuments
mountains and fields of stone
continuous rows of stonewalls
wound round the island like an offering

I found stone carvings of mermaids
and ancient unnamed river gods
a Sheela-na-Gig I thought I recognized
having seen her name
on the walls of a cave in the Dordogne
along with her portrait cut and shaped
on the rounded surface of soft white stone

There are no stones
where my mother and I were born
only the jagged edges of memory
ground down by the desert molcajete
to caliche and polished round pebbles
leaving no trace of history
but an abandoned pulque farm
an adobe jail
and a dried up river bed

“Stonemason” — James O’Hern

#infiniteanthology day241

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